Why More SMBs are Turning to the Cloud to Reduce Costs

Why More SMBs are Turning to the Cloud to Reduce Costs

More small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) seem to be taking the initiative to learn more about the benefits of the cloud to reduce costs. Obviously, this has sparked increased interest. If you shouted, “Cost Savings!” in a room full of SMBs, you’d undoubtedly be the center of attention. And it seems as if this is also the motivating factor as to why more SMBs are looking into cloud-based solutions to reduce expenditures. Although it seems like an oxymoron to recommend investing in new technology to control costs, cloud-based solutions can be leveraged for a greater return on already inevitable operational expenses. By enhancing productivity and overall efficiency, the cloud could help spur business growth and profitability. Reasons For Cloud-based Solutions The Cloud to Reduce Costs – This is the big one. Every SMB wants their business to grow but that growth is accompanied by rising costs to maintain safe, reliable, and sustainable business technology. On-premise solutions are expensive.  If you’re paying someone $60K a year to manage and monitor your technology, and most of their day is spent performing routine maintenance tasks or running to the aid of the intern who complains that something is running slow, are you really getting a return on that investment? You can do better and your on-site IT support can do more for you. The cost for cloud-based solutions have been found to be anywhere from 35% to 50% lower than with on-premise solutions. This is because the cloud can completely eliminate most infrastructure costs such as servers, databases, backup, operating systems, upgrades, migration, physical space, power and cooling, and associated in-house or...
What is the Cloud: A Simple Analogy

What is the Cloud: A Simple Analogy

You use the cloud and don’t even know it. Do you go to Amazon and create a wish list? Do you have an email account on Yahoo? That is cloud computing. All your emails are stored on Yahoo servers somewhere. They are on physical servers, of course, but they aren’t on your laptop. The advantage is that when you spill your coffee onto the laptop keyboard, you haven’t lost all your emails even if you never backed up your hard drive. (If you haven’t, shame on you, by the way.) How The Cloud Works Here is a simple analogy to explain how the cloud works and why it might be a very useful part of your business model. Picture the small, very cramped office space of a little start-up. You and a few coworkers sit in tight quarters with messy desktops buried in mounds of papers, files, and pizza boxes. There is absolutely no room for storage. (Throw the boxes out yourself. There are limits even to cloud technology) It will be a long time until you can afford a larger office space. Your building manager offers to rent you an empty file cabinet in the basement. Although the basement space is shared with other tenants, only you and your team have keys to this locked cabinet where you will store all those piles of paper. Your rent is relatively cheap compared to other tenants, since you’re only paying for the cabinet, and not the larger lockers they have leased. Suddenly, those once covered desktops are clean, leaving space to work. More importantly, the papers are all nearby, each...
It is Heaven! Use Cloud Computing to Challenge Big Business

It is Heaven! Use Cloud Computing to Challenge Big Business

Has anyone suggested you begin moving your business to the cloud? Cloud data storage or cloud computing? What is this, anyhow? And isn’t it something for huge companies? In the last post we explained what cloud computing is. Simply put, it is the offsite storage of your data, and perhaps even the software packages you use. The primary benefit is pretty straightforward. Somebody else pays for all the hardware and support costs needed to store your data. You pack up all your own servers, wiring, etc. and take them to the recycling center, and save money. But is that all it is? There is a much stronger case for a small business to incorporate the cloud in their business model. The cloud allows you to become competitive with the big players in your industry. SMB And Not Enough Capital The traditional issue holding back small business: they do not have the capital to create the infrastructure to compete with large firms. They are too small to enjoy economies of scale. One obvious area is software and hardware. Historically, the technology used by big business has been out of reach of the little guys. Most SMBs have neither the hardware budget nor internal resources to own a network infrastructure. A small business does not have capital to buy the equipment. Take a simple example: You run a storefront, but think you might be able to sell a bit more if you went online, but you don’t know how much more. You can’t justify the capital to buy the hardware, software, and the labor to design, build, and support it all....
Cloud Monitoring Can Be the Difference Maker for SMBs

Cloud Monitoring Can Be the Difference Maker for SMBs

It’s a fast-paced world. Not only do people want things, they want things right now. This sometimes-unnerving need for instant satisfaction has only intensified now that we have Wi-Fi and mobile devices that keep us connected regardless of where we are, what we’re doing, or the time of day. There is no longer any tolerance whatsoever for waiting. A business with a website that fails to load, or loads too slowly, will lose customers and leads to competitors. So what has your business done to address this need for constant accessibility and optimal uptime? Do you feel you’re doing enough to meet the demands and expectations of your customers, new business prospects and those who have just now found you on Google? If you’re a small-to-medium sized business owner, do you have confidence in your technology infrastructure? Can you say with certainty that your website, internal server, and mobile applications function smoothly, efficiently, and correctly? When your IT team leaves work to go live their lives, are you confident that things won’t go bump in the night? That you won’t be ringing their cell phone while they’re out having dinner with their family, or worse yet, sleeping? If you answer no to these questions, you may be one of the many small business owners who could benefit from cloud monitoring. And you’ll be pleased to learn that cloud monitoring can significantly improve all facets of your business – especially your service, productivity, reputation, and profitability. What is the Cloud? According to a study conducted by Wakefield Research, 54% of those questioned responded that they’ve never used cloud technology. However,...
SMBs Can Utilize Cloud Technology To Build Their Business

SMBs Can Utilize Cloud Technology To Build Their Business

There has been a lot of talk lately about the cloud and its ability to put small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and startups on a level playing field with large global enterprises. Can this be substantiated or is it a load of trendy hype to push SMBs to cloud-based solutions? We’ve compiled this breakdown of how the cloud can be used to boost profitability. The Convenience Factor It once took smaller companies and startups weeks to launch and configure their own IT infrastructure. Doing so also required a ton of overhead costs. Today’s cloud technology provides the benefits of this very same infrastructure but on an as needed and on-demand basis. SMBs can build a technology infrastructure for themselves online in less than a minute. For example, a smaller agency that provides apps for its clients, can turn to a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud provider. A PaaS provides companies an environment that enables them to more easily host and deploy apps. They do this by shielding developers from the hassles that come with the set up, configuration, and management of things like servers and databases. Without having to worry about things on the infrastructure side, the company and its application developers can focus on creating innovative apps that will generate business revenue. Once their server is online and available, they can launch instantly with a 1-click deployment of their application. Mission Critical Agility & Scalability In the tech industry, everyone must channel his or her inner Maverick and Goose* because there is a need… a need for speed. Speed is everything and agility is mission critical. The cloud’s rapid provisioning...
Why The Hybrid Cloud Is More Than Just Another Trend

Why The Hybrid Cloud Is More Than Just Another Trend

It should come as no surprise that many small to midsize business owners take pride in overseeing every aspect of their startup business. Naturally, many are apprehensive when it comes to surrendering control of their servers, their data, and their applications. The downside of this need for control is that operating and maintaining everything onsite can be time consuming, super expensive, and it can make your business more vulnerable to failure related downtime and cyber threats. Although everything can be stored in the cloud at a fraction of the cost, many aren’t responsive to the idea of sharing the infrastructure their technology runs on. It’s Not All Or Nothing The great thing about the cloud is it’s not an all or nothing thing. This is exactly why so many small to midsize businesses have turned to hybrid cloud solutions. Just as they name implies, hybrid cloud solutions are both on and off premises. It’s the best of both worlds. An entrepreneur can still control certain aspects of the business on-site, but simultaneously exploit the cloud’s cost effectiveness and overall scalability. For example, a local server like Windows Server 2012 can be housed and managed on-site but that server, or just specific files, can still be backed up in the cloud with Microsoft Windows Azure and stored far away off-site. This provides a partial disaster recovery solution in the event of a hurricane, flood, fire, or just a basic server crash. Tips For Developing Your Hybrid Cloud Strategy Honestly assess the current IT strategy – Over time, as your business grows and technology advances, your well-planned and neatly arranged IT...
The Sky’s the Limit for SMBs Taking to the Cloud

The Sky’s the Limit for SMBs Taking to the Cloud

There has been a lot of hype about cloud computing transforming the way small-to-medium sized businesses do business. Proponents of the cloud say that cloud computing has leveled the playing field, allowing SMBs to finally compete with bigger companies despite their limited financial resources and staffing. Still, many are apprehensive to make the jump. They’re hesitant to give up control and they fear the cloud will expose them to greater security risks. Moving to the cloud definitely requires a leap of faith, but a recent ComScore study, completed on behalf of Microsoft, suggests that those who are froggy enough to take the leap (sorry) have no regrets once they do. In fact, more than half of those surveyed wish they had adopted it earlier and feel that the benefits far outweigh their initial worries. What are those benefits? Enhanced Privacy and Security According to the study, 94 percent of companies who’ve adopted cloud services believe they’re now more secure than they were before, thanks to the cloud’s spam management and up-to-date systems and antivirus protection. Less Downtime and More Confidence 61% of those surveyed reported fewer instances of downtime since their move to the cloud. Even those who still experienced downtime events felt that they were shorter in duration and that full recovery could be achieved much quicker. 93% indicated that they were more confident in their ability to fully recover after an outage. Comparatively, 73% responded that they felt the integrity of their data in the cloud was stronger than previously, which is interesting since data integrity has often been the biggest worry about the cloud. Environmental Friendliness...
Why Should You Get On The Cloud?

Why Should You Get On The Cloud?

A recent article by The Guardian (UK) states that the cloud industry is set to see a growth of around 30% soon. But many small and medium business owners are still struggling to make sense of the cloud and how it can benefit them. If you are one of them, then here’s what’s in store for you when you migrate to the cloud: 1. Connectivity – Being on the cloud gives you unparalleled connectivity to your data—from anywhere and at any time. All you need is a device that can connect you to the web and you are set! 2. Save On Hardware Costs – Using the cloud for certain programs spares you the cost of investing in specific hardware. Even devices as simple as your smartphone or a tablet can help you access those applications so you don’t have to spend money on dedicated hardware. Studies have shown that cloud users end up enjoying as much as a 17% IT cost reduction compared to their non-cloud counterparts. 3. Cloud Enables SAAS – The cloud allows you to use software as a service. Microsoft 365 is one such example. When you use software as a service, you enjoy certain benefits such as more regular updates at a lower cost and the ability to have anyone work on the program for you by sharing the access credentials with them. 4. More Efficient Use of IT Staff – Moving to a cloud-based environment puts the burden of maintenance and downtime reduction on your service provider. That means you can use your limited IT staff more efficiently and also don’t have to...
Cloud Based Storage Solutions: Access Your Data Anywhere

Cloud Based Storage Solutions: Access Your Data Anywhere

The ability to backup, store, and synchronize files across multiple devices has changed the way that we use computers. Regardless of which cloud based storage solutions you use, having the ability to access data from any device and location with a connection is phenomenal. Cloud Based Storage Solutions Come In Various Options There are many vendors offering cloud based storage solutions and each of those solutions have different features that a user can take advantage of. Many of the solutions have mobile applications that enable you to access your files on any number of devices. Some solutions even offer peer to peer synchronization services, meaning that files sync across computers but don’t take up space on the servers of the solution provider. It is very common for a vendor to offer a certain amount of free space in the cloud, with the capability of paying to increase the amount of space one can use on the servers that file files are synchronized to. In addition, many vendors offer great collaboration and file sharing tools that can be used within an organization securely mitigating the need for users to have access to a network to access resources. Desktop Apps Are Available A lot of solutions, such as Google Drive, DropBox or Box include a desktop application which can be downloaded, installed and configured to read from a hot folder on a persons hard drive. This is a nice tool, because the hot folder automatically synchronizes to the cloud eliminating the need to consciously upload files to back them up. In addition, this enables you to access your files offline. Or...
Cloud Based Software: 4 Things To Check Before Buying

Cloud Based Software: 4 Things To Check Before Buying

Most software is being moved to the cloud making purchasing software for your business easier than purchasing boxed copies with CDs and license keys. There are however some tips you should consider when looking for cloud based software that is right for you. Here are four tips one should take into account. 1.) Find The Cloud Based Software That Works Right For You This is easily the most important tip I can offer as someone who has gone through the trouble of finding a cloud based software that has met the needs of others. One software you are looking for may advertise that it does exactly what you need it to! You sign up and install the software only to find out that the one crucial feature you were looking for it to do it doesn’t do at all. Maybe the software doesn’t exist yet to meet that need. But do your research to make sure one fulfills all necessary requirements before purchasing the software. 2.) Popular Does Not Mean Good There have been times where you will get a popular hit in a search and find it gets 4 or 5 star ratings by customers. Don’t always believe that that is the cloud based software for you. Often times when this happens you may pay for the software and then find that you don’t really like it. This has happened to me in the past where it sounded great and would do what I need it to but the reality was I wasted money. Use your own judgement on whether you think the software is good not the...